TRAIK-EOTOMY: Bubble hockey could be coming back to the NHL for the playoffs

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Author of the article:

Michael Traikos

Publishing date:

Apr 07, 2021  •  20 minutes ago  •  8 minute read  •  Join the conversation

Rogers Arena sits empty as the Vancouver Canucks stay sidelined because of a COVID-19 outbreak. USA TODAY Article content

Is the bubble coming back for the playoffs?

Players and team owners may not want it to. But after seeing what’s happened to the Vancouver Canucks in the past week, I don’t see how the league avoids it.

There’s far too much at stake.

We’re three months into the season and, while vaccination rates continue to rise, we’re still seeing players regularly added to the COVID-protocol list. We’re still seeing games postponed. We’re still seeing major disruptions.

For the most part, the NHL has rolled with the punches. But rescheduling games in the regular season is one thing. Trying to do so in the playoffs is another.

If the COVID-19 outbreak in Vancouver has showed us anything, it’s that the NHL is one outbreak away from jeopardizing the season. One player testing positive can easily multiply into 18 players in a matter of days. It’s difficult enough when that happens in the middle of a season. But try to imagine that happening in the middle of a playoff series.

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